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The facts and China's position on China-US trade friction

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-26 08:00
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4. China's huge efforts and achievements with regard to IPR protection should not be dismissed.

China's attitude towards IPR protection is clear and firm. It has continued to reinforce protection22 through legislation, law enforcement and the judiciary, and achieved some notable successes. Official reports by the US administration before 2016 also acknowledged China's achievements in IPR protection. The China Business Climate Survey Reports by the American Chamber of Commerce in China indicate that, among the main challenges facing its member enterprises in China, IPR infringement has dropped from the 7th biggest concern in 2011 to 12th in 2018. The recent accusations by the US administration about China's IPR protection are unrealistic and completely dismissive of China's tremendous efforts and achievements in this regard.

China has formulated and improved its laws and regulations on IP protection, and enhanced protection of IPR. China built a fully-fledged and high-standard IP legal framework in a relatively short period, compared to the decades or more that developed countries spent setting up similar legal systems. China has put in place a complete regime of IP protection, utilization and administration, spanning laws, planning, policies and enforcement agencies. Dr. Arpad Bogsch, former Director-General of the WIPO, has commented, "China had accomplished all this at a speed unmatched in the history of intellectual property protection." In 2013, China amended its Trademark Law, setting up a system of punitive damages under which the damages cap is raised from RMB 500,000 to RMB 3 million, thus remarkably enhancing protection. Since the fourth major amendment to Patent Law launched in 2014, China has put forward measures for further strengthening protection of patents such as introducing harsher punishment for infringements, improving the rule of evidence, enhancing administrative protection, and better protecting patents in cyber space. In 2017, China amended the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, which further improves the protection of trade secrets, identifies act of confusion, expands the scope of protection for indications, and ratchets up legal liabilities for illegal acts. On October 1st, 2017, China adopted General Provisions of the Civil Law, which stipulates that "Civil entities enjoy intellectual property rights in accordance with law", and enhances protection of trade secrets by making them a subject of IP protection.

China has intensified judicial protection for intellectual property and given full play to judicial protection. In 2014, China set up three IP tribunals in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to handle cross-regional IP cases, including those related to patents. Since 2009, China has established 16 special judicial organs in Tianjin, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an and other cities, effectively enhancing the professional handling of IP cases. Between 2013 and 2017, Chinese courts received 813,564 new IP cases of all sorts, and handled and closed 781,257 cases. In 2017, Chinese courts received 213,480 first-instance cases, and concluded 202,970 cases, up by 46% and 43% from the previous year23. More IP cases, especially patent cases, are tried in China than in any other country. China provides equal protection for the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign interested parties in accordance with law. In 2016, Chinese courts heard and closed 1,667 first-instance cases related to foreign entities and individuals, up by 25.6%24 year-on-year. (See Box 3) The adjudication period for foreign-related IP cases in China is among the shortest in the world. Beijing IP court processes cases in four months on average. Thanks to its rapid judicial procedure, China is increasingly being selected as the forum of choice for non-Chinese companies to litigate IP disputes, and a significant number of both the plaintiffs and defendants in Beijing IP court are foreigners.

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